A row has broken out among the four London Assembly political parties over the allocation of key scrutiny roles.
Last week’s election saw Labour win 11 seats on the 25-strong Assembly, making it the body’s biggest party, while the Conservatives came second with 9, followed by the Greens with three and two Liberal Democrats.
Following the election, the Assembly must meet to agree its chair and deputy chair, as well as those on its scrutiny committees which contain members of all parties.
On Friday the committee leaderships were shared between Assembly Members from the Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat groups, with none of the roles allocated to the Labour group.
Len Duvall, Labour’s leader on the Assembly, blasted Green and Lib Dem AMs who he accused of “betraying the very people who put them in City Hall” by forming a “coalition” with the Tories.
He added: “What we essentially have here is a new coalition. It’s disappointing to see the Lib Dems and Greens backing the Tories this way – they had a choice and they’ve decided to go with those who want to weaken our public services.”
However the other parties insist they wanted to share the committee leaderships among all four parties based on the proportion of seats each has on the London Assembly and claim Labour walked away from talks “at the 11th hour.”
The proportional arrangement would have seen Labour chair five committees, the Conservatives four, and the Greens and Liberal Democrats one each in the first year of the new Assembly term.
Conservative Leader Susan Hall AM said: “It’s disappointing that Labour Members on the London Assembly have abdicated their responsibility to hold the Mayor to account.
“Instead of agreeing to a fair deal on the Assembly’s committees, ensuring all Londoners’ views are represented, they’ve refused to chair a single one. It’s only been a week since the election, but they’ve already let Londoners down.”
Green Leader Caroline Russell AM said: ““City Hall Greens are strong believers in proportional representation and have worked hard to achieve a fair, and proportional, arrangement for our cross-party scrutiny work on behalf of Londoners.
“We hope Labour will come back to the table and fully participate in Assembly work to serve the interests of Londoners.”
Liberal Democrat Leader Caroline Pidgeon AM said: ““It is with sadness and regret that a four-party agreement has not been reached on the allocation of Chairs of Committees based on Assembly seats.
“Up to the eleventh hour every effort was made to reach such an agreement. I am only sorry that Labour have chosen not to join us.”
Duvall has insisted that the new arrangements wouldn’t stop his group from playing “a full role in scrutiny” of the Mayor and his agencies.